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The 4A's Does Stuff After All
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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We give the 4A's a tough time. As one of the premier organizations for advertising agencies, the 4A's is a group that we expect a lot from. It just seems that when tough questions and difficult conversations come to the forefront of the industry, the 4A's shows its soft backbone and vomits up an even softer answer, hoping that the answer will appease the mob.

Racial disparity. Gender disparity. Lack of mentors. Agency development. Agency/Client relationship.

So when we see the 4A's do something noteworthy and encouraging, we want to be the first to highlight its efforts.

The registration process for the 4A's Institute of Advanced Advertising Studies (IAAS) has officially begun. What is IAAS? It is a 13–16 week program for promising advertising agency professionals with 1–4 years of experience. For each city that IAAS takes place, it picks a client for the workshop. Then the students meet a number of times each week in different agency locations and work "intensively" on cases, going to lectures and completing coursework. At the end of the program, the teams of students present their pitch and work to the client.

For 2013, the IAAS will be in seven different locations across the U.S.

We appreciate the 4A's efforts to build local advertising talent in every city it visits. It is good to see it focus on young agency talent, too. However, and yes, we're being nitpicky, the IAAS — according to the web site — has been around for 45 years.

So, what's the deal?

The cost of going through this program tops $1,200. For a 13–16 week deal, that's not bad at all. But where is the return on investment? If the institute has been around for nearly a half a decade, one would hope to see its graduates bearing fruit.

Yet here we are.

Are there any IAAS grads out there who can tell us how effective the training was? Was it "real-world" or theory-based, or a combination? We think the IAAS is a great idea, but if it doesn't help young talent succeed, then more has to be done to either make the institute effective, or tackle whatever else the problem may be. 

Ah well. At least it's a start.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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